What does it mean to be wise? Is it dictated by how old we are? How educated we are? Or is it because we have witnessed and experienced enough to know that we truly know the Truth? Wisdom is a strange attribute because it comes from emptying out instead of filling up with things such as time, knowledge, and experience. The great Taoist sage and author of the Tao te Ching, Lao-tzu said,
“Those who know do not say. Those who say do not know.”
In essence, he is saying that the more you know, the less really know. Because I believe, that one of the keys to spiritual freedom is giving up the need to know why and the attachment to the answers. We are deemed wise when we have the answers, but truly the older I get the less I know, which is the opposite of that. So, does that make me less wise?
With Age Comes Wisdom
When I was younger, I wanted to know all the answers. I was one of those kids growing up who would ask the “Why?” questions. It drove my parents crazy (until they bought me a set of encyclopedias.) My need to know was so compelling, that I went to school thinking I would find the answers to the meaning of life and God. Only to get to the point I am currently and I understand less than I did before.
Seeking the Truth
The more I learned, the more I realized I did not, and will not, have all the answers. This is my current definition of wisdom. When a person gets to the point that they have followed the path and come to a crossroads to realize there isn’t just one right way to go. That we have to let go of our preconceived notions of what is and come to grips with the notion that we do not know everything and some things we may never know. When we do, we are ready to empty ourselves to be free to make space for potentiality.
Letting Go of the Need to Know
Now, when someone asks me if I know what wisdom is, I can only say, “I don’t know”. And, that may be the truest thing I’ve ever admitted. Because I do not need to know everything. I just need to know how to be ready for possibilities and vulnerable enough to be open to the next thing, whatever that may be.